MediaPortal improves stability, offers better TV performance

Team MediaPortal has released a major update of its open-source media center for Windows. MediaPortal 1.6.0 FINAL comes with the promise of increased stability thanks to a MySQL update, better TV performance on selected live streams and support for a range of new plugins.

A number of improvements in MediaPortal 1.6 can be found within its Music section. There’s a rework of the Last.FM component for compatibility reasons, while the AllMusic scraper has also been updated to restore album and artist scraping functionality.

Version 1.6 also restores gapless playback -- users should enable this via MediaPortal’s configuration -- while music visualizations now correctly listen to the music beat. Switch visualizations to full-screen by pressing the [X] key.

Also updated is the MyVideos scraper -- not only does the latest build fix fanart and poster scraping after an API change at themoviedb.org, but it’s also been engineered that future updates to the scraper can be applied outside of the regular MediaPortal release cycle.

Version 1.6 also promises enhanced TV performance thanks to fixes to stuttering and dropped frame issues with H.264 video streams of a certain type favored by free-to-air broadcasts in both the UK and New Zealand. The update also adds recognition of DolbyDigital+ streams and fixes a deadlock that could lead to TV server crashes or even BSODs on certain setups.

Other changes in version 1.6 include core modifications to support new plugins including the Auto3D plugin, which provides enhanced 3D functionality whenever a 3D movie is detected. Windows 8.1 users should also see a DPI scaling issue resolved, while refresh rate changing issues on multi-monitor setups should also be fixed.

MediaPortal 1.6.0 switches to MySQL 5.6 from version 5.1 for stability reasons. Team MediaPortal cites the default InnoDB engine used in version 5.6 as being more reliable and less prone to crashing than the MyISAM database that’s the default in version 5.1. Existing users will need to perform a clean installation rather than an upgrade in order to use MySQL 5.6.

Version 1.6.0 also switches its requirements to the .NET Framework 4 tool, which users will need to have installed before attempting to install the software. Note .NET Framework 4 is already included with standard Windows 8 and 8.1 installs.

MediaPortal 1.6.0 FINAL is available now as a free, open-source download for PCs running Windows Vista or later. Note that official support for XP was dropped with the previous major release (1.5.0).

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